What do you think about CTPs?

Brian Harry wants to know.  We've always had a concern about the quality of the CTPs we release, but are torn between increasing the quality, but reducing the frequency. 

What we found with the monthly frequency of CTPs as opposed to the classic "wait for beta quality" approach is that we received more valuable real time feedback on features in development that allowed us to make changes. 

How would you like to see us walk this line?

Comments (8)
  1. I haven’t really liked the frequent releases of CTP. I’d rather have Beta 1, Beta 2 and RCs. The reason for that is that especially when it comes to OS, you are requiring people who already have fulltime job to reinstall the entire OS. Now that takes a lot of effort and time. It’s not only having to reinstall OS, you have to reinstall the whole bunch of software as well. I know geeks like me don’t mind it, but I prefer less frequent releases of Betas.

  2. MSDNArchive says:

    Is it a problem if we have the choice of waiting for beta?  The issue we’ve had with only doing beta’s in the past is that it limits the ammount of feedback we can take.

  3. Norman Diamond says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with frequent releases of CTPs.  Anyone who doesn’t want to download every CTP doesn’t have to.  No one expects a CTP to work.  Those of us who have been in the industry too long (pre-Microsoft days) have this insane idea that if we submit bug reports about CTPs then the bug reports should be taken seriously instead of being closed for various arcane reasons (such as saying that we’re writing in English when we’re writing in English).  Disputes arise over responses to bugs not the bugs themselves, bugs are expected.

    Different problems arise when a CTP gets labelled as RTM.  CTPs should be labelled CTPs.  It’s going to take another 3 years to get Visual Studio 2005 working.  It’s going to take another 5 years to get Vista working.  The current releases should have been called CTPs.

  4. I’ve mentioned what I think about CTP’s a couple of times over at my blog, but I’ll recap here. In a nutshell…

    I think the *idea* of CTPs is great. Where I got bent out of shape is that over the past few months it has literally gotten impossible to keep track of what CTP played nice with other CTPs…there were lots of incompatibilities between a lot of them, and it got to the point where I had to keep track of all the different versions that were compatible with pen and paper and lots of sticky notes. I would like to see all CTPs released around the same time work with one another, and also the ability to install either OVER old versions, or SIDE BY SIDE. The uninstall/reinstall routine got old very quickly.

    Here’s what I’d like to see: MS seems to be pushing their whole VHD program pretty strong lately, so why not release complete VM’s on a semi-regular basis loaded up with CTPs of certain technology areas that all play nice together (and do dif-disks, like MS did for the Nov. Orcas CTP)…that way we don’t have to guess in the dark if installing something is going to break everything else. When a new round of CTPs come out, just release a dif-disk that we can overlay on the base OS image.

  5. Ben Fulton says:

    The more the merrier, IMO.

  6. AsbjornM says:

    I like CTP’s often, but as Jayson says, use VHD files, use an base OS VM, and dif-disks with the CTP’s as you do with the Orcas, that is genious, then we can test the ctps fast, and does not need to repave our computers if something go wrong.

  7. Jim Holmes says:

    Agile rant: Release early, release often.  Everyone benefits.

    While CTPs are great, they can be a real pain in the backside for all the install hassles.  I live with that hassle because I understand where they’re coming from.

    +1 to the suggestion of making VHDs available for the products, but I’d do that alongside having regular installs available too.

  8. MSDNArchive says:

    Jayson: Thanks for the feedback about the direction we are going in.

    Ben: Thanks!

    Asbjorn: I’ll count you as regular VHD++.

    Jim: And another VHD++. Thanks!

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